Three “Huh?” Moments in MMA Last Week: Long Live Oleinik, Anderson to Bellator, and Garbrandt the Flyweight

Corey Anderson vs Johnny Walker Credit: Marcus Rebelo/Cageside Press

Corey Anderson bails for Bellator

After fighting the vast majority of his career in the UFC, former The Ultimate Fighter 19 light heavyweight tournament winner and ranked 205er Corey Anderson is headed to Bellator. Huh?

While it happens, it’s rare to see fighters ask to leave the UFC, and for that wish to be granted. But in Corey Anderson’s situation, it’s easy to see why.

The 30-year-old was on the best run of his career coming into 2020. With four consecutive wins, capped off with a decisive first-round TKO victory over Johnny Walker last November, the promotional veteran was nearing a title-shot against light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

Then, in February, Anderson was KOd by Jan Blachowicz, and knocked back down the pecking order at 205-pounds.

When faced with another tough slog up the UFC light heavyweight rankings, or a change of scenery and quicker road to title-contention, Anderson chose the latter. Credit to the UFC for granting his release, knowing he’d likely end up joining their competition.

Now, Anderson heads to Bellator. There, he’ll likely have a shorter wait for a potential title-shot. Current Bellator heavyweight and light heavyweight champ, and former UFC contender, Ryan Bader is defending his 205-pound title later this month against Vadim Nemkov.

Should Anderson get a win in his debut against a top contender, a title-shot against the winner of Bader-Nemkov sometime next year would make a lot of sense.